new years

How to Start Your 2018 Off Right (Before it Starts) (List-cember #6)

With the New Year RAPIDLY approaching I have been going through my usual routine—which mostly consists of muted panicking. January 1st comes with a lot of nerves and pressure, as well as excitement and freedom. And while it’s important and fun to embrace the New Year after the clock strikes midnight, there are also a few things things you can do beforehand that can make that tick tock more relaxing than taxing. Wink_Emoji_grande

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1) Unsubscribe

If you spend a lot of time online, whether it be for work or leisure, or if you’ve done a lot of your Christmas shopping from the comfort of an internet window, chances are you’ve found yourself subscribed to a lot of newsletters/company coupon strands that you have no interest in. And while it’s easy to just delete these and move on with your day, there is real benefit in taking a few extra seconds and unsubscribing. Not only will it declutter your email, but it will also remove the temptation that comes with all those FLASH SALE emails. Trust me on this one, just scroll to the bottom of the email, click unsubscribe and regain some of your freedom.

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2) Clean!

I am very much like my mom in that few things leave me quite as satisfied as a clean house. And with the holidays in full swing I have some upcoming days off, so I’ll most likely spend a good chunk of those days doing all the cleaning I’ve been procrastinating on. But what if I did it early? What if I put aside some extra time on these days leading up to the off days, so that when the off days arrive I can spend far more time sitting on the couch in my sweatpants? Call me crazy but more time in sweatpants = a more satisfying holiday = a better attitude upon returning to work after the holidays = a better employee = endless raises, etc. etc. I’m just spitballing here.

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3) Trash/Donate

This can more or less go alongside cleaning, as it’s possible it might happen organically if you get into one of those intense cleaning modes. But don’t just clean everything, go through it. Go through your closet and your bookshelves and your desk. Clean out your refrigerator and your garage and your car. Then trash the broken and old and donate what’s ready to be loved by someone else.

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4) Change Your Alarm

I admit it. I am a huge “hit snooze-er” when it comes to my alarm in the mornings. Over the last few months, I don’t think there’s been a single day that I didn’t do it at least once. That being said however, it has been brought to my attention that you actually wake up more tired when you hit snooze. Not to mention you (or maybe just I) usually end up hitting snooze a few more times than you (I) should, so you (I) end up rushing around the house trying to get to work on time. SO, in the interest of being honest with myself (i.e. accepting the fact that I’ll probably never kick the habit of hitting snooze) but still hoping to make an improvement, I am going to set a second, different, alarm that gives a “HEY KIM, YOU CAN’T CLICK SNOOZE ANYMORE” type of signal. That way I can at least keep track of where I am in snooze time, and will have to try a little harder to oversleep.

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5) Stock Up

You know how lines at department stores and grocery stores tend to grow at the speed of Pinnocchio’s nose around the holidays? You know how spending time in those lines is arguably one of the worst ways to spend your holidays? Right, so let’s do our best to avoid that. Let’s stock up on the necessities: toilet paper, laundry soap, Oreos, etc. This will save us from the early morning/late night “can you go to the store real quick, pleeeeease” arguments and include us in more of the “how many marshmallows should we put in our hot chocolate?” debates.

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6) Set Goals

More than anything, a new year gives us a fresh start. We get a new calendar year, with holidays waiting to be celebrated and seasons to waiting to take shape. It’s hard not to feel inspired to make some changes. So I encourage you, go with that inspiration! Make a list! Be daring, be creative and be specific. It’s so easy to make vague resolutions that are ultimately unsatisfying because they have no framework. Use numbers, details, and blueprints. Give your self time limits and then go for it!

(Also, if you’re interested, you can check out this post for some tips on setting goals, and this post to see the 17 goals I set for myself this year)

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I wish you a wonderful end to your 2017 and an inspirational start to your 2018!

5 Steps to Setting Goals for the New Year (List-cember #8)

Can you believe we’re already in the last week of December?! Every year it seems like the day after Thanksgiving we start powering forward towards Christmas, putting every drop of our energy into all that it entails, and then suddenly it’s over and we’re sitting on December 26th like, “what do you mean the year is over in 5 days?”

To make matters more stressful, with the end of one year comes the beginning of a new year, and all the pressure associated with that. How can I make the coming year better than the last? What can I change? What can I cut out? What dance move do I need to learn?

It’s a lot to think about.

So, for this second to last installment of List-cember, I give you the 5 steps to setting goals for the New Year.

 

1) Set Goals, Not Resolutions

At the beginning of this year, I wrote this post after being inspired by another blogger to no longer make New Years Resolutions. In her post, she explained why it is important to instead set goals, as they are specific and concrete (i.e. read 30 books) while resolutions are much more vague (i.e. read more). The article really struck a chord in me and immediately after reading it, I wrote a list of goals for the year. As it turned out, the blogger was right. Having my goals spelled out in front of me made it easier to achieve them. I had numbers and dates involved and that gave me much-needed deadlines. It also prevented me from finding loopholes. With “read more” I could have rationalized any number as the “more”, while “read 30 books” (which by the way was actually on my list) is pretty bulletproof. (Ps- I did end up reading 30 books)

 

2) Pick absolutely anything

Your goals are just that, your goals. Don’t let anyone else tell you what they should be and don’t be ashamed of anything you want to throw on that list.

 

3) Don’t be so serious

Piggy backing off of #2, goals don’t always have to be these deep, philosophical creatures. When I was trying to get ideas for my list, I started sifting around for inspiration and kept finding these vague, heavy statements like “love more” or “attract more positivity”. And while those are great, and in some cases very necessary for someone looking for a fresh start, I didn’t feel like I really connected to any of them. At first this worried me. Does this mean my list is stupid? No! It just means the list is mine.

 

4) Find a balance between challenging and achievable

To give you a sports metaphor: think of Michael Phelps, a.k.a the greatest Olympian of all time. He set incredible goals for himself, many of which he appeared to achieve. This is because he found that balance. He was always pushing himself to do more, while still respecting what was possible. Imagine if his goal would have merely been to “make the swim team” or if it was to “win gold in every single swimming event at the Olympics.” He would have never become the champion he is today. This is why that balance is so important, it gets you in tune with what you are capable of, and even more, what you can be capable of if you put in the work.

 

5) Go for it

Once you set your goals, get after them! Don’t feel like you have to wait for anyone’s permission. Don’t even make yourself wait for January 1st! Just go for it. Achieve achieve achieve and then set more goals and start all over.just-do-it

 

What’s on your list this year?

 

Miss a List-cember post? Find them all here.

Streaky Mirror New Year

A few weeks ago I went on a completely compulsive cleaning binge; not one inch of the house was spared. I mopped floors, I washed dishes, I dusted dressers, I scrubbed toilets, all of it, and once I finished, I sat down on the couch and let out a long, satisfied sigh.

Later when I went to shower off the week’s worth of dust and dinge, I noticed the horrifically streaked bathroom mirror that hung above my sparkling clean counters.

How could I have missed this?

For a moment I considered stomping back downstairs to grab the Windex, but I was already exhausted so I just wet some toilet paper, wiped down the mirror, and smiled at myself in its newly clean surface.

Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of talk about a “deep cleaning” going on around the world, though for the most part it’s a completely different kind. With the new year finally ringing in, people everywhere are promising this and swearing that, so they might find themselves in better physical and emotional shape for the coming days. “New year, new me,” they say.

My sister and I often type up our resolutions on her typewriter. Each December we set it out on the table and add ideas as they come, enjoying their artsy and permanent look on the paper. This year however, I had a little trouble. Every time I sat down hoping to bring the typewriter to life, I drew a blank and walked away feeling discouraged.

A few days ago however, after reading this blog post titled, Set Goals, Not Resolutions, I felt a wave of inspiration. The author points out that a resolution is a promise to do an act of self-improvement, while a goal is an objective a person intends to achieve. In other words, a resolution would be to “exercise more” while a goal would be to “go to the gym 3 times a week.”

As I read through the post, I thought of my compulsive cleaning binge and my crystal clear mirror.  That night, after I had showered off the dust and gotten dressed to go to dinner, I noticed that my mirror was once again streaked, almost worse than before I had cleaned it. I shouldn’t have been surprised; I’d chosen a quick fix solution so I’d gotten a quick fix result. This is what we do when we make resolutions. With nothing but vague promises thrusting us into the new year, we are left without a plan of how to keep them, and often lack a complete understanding of what we’re actually looking to do.

I will be the first one to admit that the end of December always shows me the streaks I’ve collected throughout the past year. As I try to see myself and reflect on how to move forward, my vision is always clouded by the disappointments and the obvious improvements to be made. But as I welcome the new year and the unmatched inspiration it provides, I can’t keep looking for the quick fixes. If I really want to work towards achieving the goals I’ve set for myself, I’m just going to have to take those extra trips down the stairs for the Windex and start scrubbing.

17 New Years Resolutions You Should Not Make

We’re all making New Year’s Resolutions. All of us. So don’t try to deny it.

Everyone does it in their own way, whether it’s a quick set of mental checkpoints, or an extravagant list that’s typed, laminated and framed on the wall. We all take at least a split second to think about the year at hand and what we might like to accomplish.

There are no set guidelines for how to make a resolution. They can be simple or complicated, brief or long winded. Making a New Year’s Resolution is like planning what you’re going to eat on Thanksgiving. There are no limits, except for the size of your stomach. Wait, what?

If you’re having trouble making your resolutions this year, allow me to be of service. Here are 20 resolutions that you should not make for 2015.

1) Become a serial killer. (I mean, who has the time for all that planning?)

2) Become a serial killer’s assistant. (If there’s anything worse than being a serial killer, it’s being a serial killer’s bitch.)

3) Boycott Panera Bread. (I’m pretty sure this is a crime in at least 5 states.)

4) Slap yourself in the face every Tuesday.

5) Take more selfies. (Unless you’re adorable middle aged parents, then please continue.)

6) Decide to stop wearing all colors except orange.images

7) Change your middle name to “WiFi-Lovin.”

8) Do the Macarena every morning after your alarm goes off. (Too much of a good thing, you know?)

9) Start wearing red overalls, faking an Italian accent and start “rescuing” peaches from supermarkets.

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10)  Switch vegetables out of your diet in exchange for deep fried twinkies.

11) Change the horn in your car to say “Gangnam Style” every time you honk and then swerve around people pretending to ride an invisible horse. fullsizephoto251246

12) Start using “your”, “you’re”, “there”, “their”, and “they’re” however you want. (You demented animal.)

13) TYPE ONLY USING CAPS LOCK AND MAKE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS NERVOUS THAT YOU HAVE ANGER ISSUES.

14) Meet 100 guys named Rick. (That’s really out of your control.)

15) Become a mailman, purposefully mix up everyone’s mail and send humanity into chaos.

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16) Superglue a pen to your palm so you’ll always have one handy. (HA.)

17) Steal someone’s phone and change the name of every contact, “Guess Who.” (That’s just mean.)

I say just stick to eating healthy & staying positive. Happy New Year!